February 21, 2012

1st Sunday of Lent - B (February 26, 2012)


Time of Fulfillment

Jesus was in the desert, "among wild beast and the angels ministered to him."

With this brief description, Mark set the stage for "the time of fulfillment" that Jesus would soon announce.

There was an earlier time in history when Adam and Eve, and, with them, humanity, were living among animals, and in "a garden where creation was in harmony" (Genesis 2: 19-20) [1].

However, once sin damaged their relationship with God, in "the fallen state, humankind [was] expelled into a place where the land and its animal inhabitants rebel against a man and a woman, who are themselves in conflict" (Genesis 3: 14-19) [2].

Now, Jesus heralds first in his life, then in his words, "the time of fulfillment." Later on, with his cross and resurrection, Christ inaugurates a new creation where God's relationship with all God's creation is restored.

Lent offers us, the people redeemed by Christ, the opportunity to live more fully in this time of fulfillment that God has begun in us through Baptism.

With prayer, we return to God.

With fasting, we open to God's grace restoring in us what sin has damaged.

With almsgiving, we repair and rebuild relationships with others.

[1] Francis J. Moloney, The Gospel of Mark: A Commentary. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2002; p. 38.

[2] Ibid.

1st Sunday of Lent - B (February 26, 2012)


Image: Christ in the Wilderness by Moretto da Brescia

February 18, 2012

7th Sunday - B (February 19, 2012)


Other People

In this healing narrative, the supporting cast, so to speak, is made up of the crowd and the four friends of the paralytic.

The crowd makes it impossible for the paralytic to get close to Jesus, at least physically. Moreover, in the crowd, there are some who will turn against Jesus. In fact, this passage reports the first conflict between Jesus and the scribes in the Gospel according to Mark [1].

The four friends, on the contrary, help bring the man to the encounter with Jesus. And as all 3 gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) put it, Jesus "saw their faith" (not just that of the sick man) and heals him.

In our lives, who help us grow closer to Jesus Christ? And who prevent us from coming closer to Him?

And am I one of the crowd who keep others from Jesus? or am I one of the friends who bring others to Jesus?

[1] Francis J. Moloney, The Gospel of Mark: A Commentary. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2002; p. 61.

7th Sunday - B (February 19, 2012)


February 10, 2012

6th Sunday - B (February 12, 2012)

Mark 1: 40-45

I Do Will it. Be Made Clean

Mark continues his report of Jesus' tireless proclamation of the Kingdom of God. Nothing will stop him.

In the healing of this man with leprosy, Jesus goes as far as touching the man. He does not need to do that in order to heal him.

Yet, Jesus heals more than just the man's physical illness.

By touching him, Jesus treats him as equals, and with the dignity of a human person. Jesus also gives back to him his place among God's people, which he has lost because of the disease. [1]

That is what Jesus wills -- to made the man totally clean. He is now a member of God's family and God's Kingdom again.

That is Jesus' will for all people in preaching to us the Kingdom of God.

[1] Francis J. Moloney, The Gospel of Mark: A Commentary. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2002; p. 58.

6th Sunday - B (February 12, 2012)


February 3, 2012

5th Sunday - B (February 5, 2012)


"For this purpose have I come"

Mark, even in the very first chapter of his Gospel, continues to portray a Jesus who is on his mission.

Jesus is absolutely clear of what his life is about: to carry out God's plan for him -- that is to preach the Kingdom of God.

The passage begins with Jesus at his mission of preaching and healing.

He has just left the synagogue where he taught and healed a man with an unclean spirit.

He now continues his mission of preaching and healing.

And nothing can stop him.

Social taboos and convention do not stop him. In healing Simon's mother-in-law, he - a man - grasps the hand if a woman, a taboo in that culture. He then allows her to serve him, breaking another convention. A "self-respecting rabbi" would not be served by a woman. Worse, he does all of these on a Sabbath. [1]

Jesus does not allow anything to stop him from preaching the Kingdom to all people, especially to those who might be considered outsiders.

Noe does he allow himself to be stopped by popularity and worldly success. He does not stay in that location even though "everyone is looking for" him.

Jesus is able to stay focused on his mission because he anchors his life on the Father who sent him. In the midst of all his activities and successes, he rises early in the morning and goes off to a deserted place to pray.

Thus, nothing can stop him in fulfilling the Father's plan. "for this purpose have I come."

And it's not just his mission. He invites the disciples to share it with him, "Let us go on." [2]

[1]. Francis J. Moloney, The Gospel of Mark, p. 55.

[2]. Ibid., p. 57.